2022-2023 Cohort

Dr. Anthony Nicholson (Diné)

Dr. Anthony P. Nicholson earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State

University. He currently serves as a postdoctoral fellow through the NSF-MPS award to perform research with Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on first-principles atomistic computational modeling of interfacial characteristics influencing charge transport in CdTe-based photovoltaics. His cultural background consists of both Navajo (Diné) and Jamaican descents. Dr. Nicholson is collaborating with JPHB Solutions LLC/JPHB Cleantech LLC in outreach initiatives focused on providing sustainable PV energy + storage solutions for underrepresented indigenous communities throughout the Navajo Nation.

Fellowship Goals: Develop solar + storage guidebook for best practices, schematics, protocols, and safety standards during the off-grid installation projects. Set up installation process for a pre-assessed family homestead.

Rowena St. Pierre (Colville Confederated Tribes)

Rowena St.Pierre was born to John and Cindy St.Pierre. She lived on the Colville reservation most of her life. Growing up, she played nothing but basketball, all year long. After venturing away for a few years, she moved back on the Colville reservation where she met her other half Ryan Marchand and son Jorell. Soon after they had three children, Jaiyana, Jraiya, and Ryan. Rowena found her motivation in her children when it came to reaching for higher education. Through her educational journey she has learned that it isn’t about where you are at, your upbringing, but what you make of it. That is when she knew she wanted to help bring light and positivity to her reservation through tradition. Her work is dedicated for the greater good of all things and she strives to create balance within the environment in which she lives in. 

Fellowship Goals: Align business ventures with traditional teachings and knowledge, grow our reservation economy, youth engagement and empowerment, fight against climate change, lower utility bills. Develop CIHA solar projects on low-income homes, Provide presentation of possible projects in the Nespelem area, bring awareness to the area, get solar curriculum in the 6 school districts.

Petla Noden (Curyung Tribe)

Petla Henry Basil Noden was born and raised in Dillingham, Alaska as the youngest of 5 born to Daniel and Mary Ann Noden. Petla is currently a student of Political and Environmental Science at the University of Anchorage. Petla is of Alaskan Native, Japanese, and European descent.

 Petla grew up immersed in the land and waters of the region and a cushion of love from his family.  Although Petla grew up economically poor, he was ecologically wealthy, eating foods from the air, land, and water. He remembers his childhood as a continued state of hunger and thirst but filled with happiness. When it was supper time the fish, bird, or animal was blessed by his mother’s preparation into an amazing meal that his young body quickly absorbed. This has instilled in his heart and mind a desire to work in ways that promote the health of his region and the planet and has been the gentle guide in life. In this way, he has dedicated his thoughts and words and a large portion of his life to doing what he can for our air, land and water.

Fellowship Goals: Coordinate and collaborate with Alaskan tribes connecting them to resources for renewable energy projects in their communities. Research and gain connections with tribes to begin solar and wind projects. Assist with logistical pathways for tribes to install solar panels on tribal buildings.

David Waybenais (Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians/Omaha Tribe)

David is an enrolled tribal member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians from Red Lake, Minnesota, and a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska from Macy, Nebraska. David moved back and forth between the two nations until he established roots on the Leech Lake Reservation and attended Cass Lake-Bena public school where he graduated in 2011. David holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Haskell Indian Nations University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Bemidji State University.

David is currently the environmental health specialist for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe where he continues to expand on his passion for community health and traditional values. In his free time, David enjoys playing golf, traveling, dancing at powwows, practicing the piano, and swimming. 

Fellowship Goals: Develop a solar program and renewable energy opportunities in Leech Lake. Expose the community to daily solar energy products and to develop a curriculum on renewable energy and Ojibwe culture.